Monday, December 21, 2009

Flaws & All

Adult friendship is something I wrestle with. Those closest to me are busy with families & day-to-day life, as am I. We may only see each other a few times a year, but time together melts away our months apart. Living over 500 miles away from where I grew up has led to many such relationships. We may reminisce some, but soon we are united in the present. Distance dissolves as we share in the bond of our daily struggles & joys. As we confide our heartaches & adventures, laughter abounds.
When I am continually told what I “should do” to “fix” myself I simply hear how broken I am. Friends uplift one another. They guide & reflect when asked, but share a common understanding of love despite imperfections. We commiserate & jest over our foibles. I am embraced for all that I am, not for just parts of me. My faith & my teaching are integral to who I am. Editing them out of conversation is to be someone other than myself. Friends don’t impose their lifestyles on each other. Friends don’t come into my house & tell me to throw things away, nor do I enter theirs & tell them to throw things around…. We accept each other for how we live as well as for who we are. Friends embrace each other for who & where they are, without need to change one another.
What would the holidays be like if shared in the love of friendship?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Moonset On Saluda

We spent the morning decorating inside & chatting with long-distance loved ones blessed with snowfall. I sifted through a years' accumulation of shopping for others before heading out with my brother for the finishing touches. As we drove home, I was awed back into reality by the yellowing crescent moon. The moment we returned home, I scrambled for my tripod to catch a few images before sitting back to watch. The amber moon turned to orange & then rose before it set behind the ridge. Our Heavenly Father is so very good & we are so richly blessed !

Winged Victory?

Viewing random strings of lights can be much like cloud watching. Tom does such a great job with ours. Once, a red lit tree looked like the outline of a cow. Another year, white lights in the same tree seemed an incredibly detailed portrait of an elk. This year, one of our red trees is cause for much speculation. One neighbor sees a giant bow, while her spouse sees a reindeer. I see the bow...but I really see the Greek statue, "Winged Victory of Samothrace"...I love that!...Especially the metaphor !

Lines At Night

I was disappointed when I saw the branches in my nighttime shots of Christmas lights. I didn't like the busy lines interfering with the image. When I looked closely at the branches, I delighted in their warm lines. I reset the tripod taking only pictures of the branches & really like this one.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lights Across the Lake

The folks directly across the lake become "neighbors" this time of year when they illuminate their pine with lights that reach across the water towards us. We reciprocate by adorning the back of our home for them. One of these years, I will make the drive up the hill to their home & introduce myself...who knows, maybe even today.....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Warmth of Light

This time of year, I drive slowly across the bridge on my way home. Across the lake, I can see our welcoming lights. As I turn into the neighborhood, I stop on the ridge. My husband's amazing light display greets me through the forest before I even make it to our street. The trees block some of the color making it somewhat magical & I am all the more anxious to arrive home. A crudely painted nativity scene is poised on our corner as a reminder of why we celebrate. With the newness of salvation on my heart, I pass through the light to our winter retreat.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Candle of Joy

“and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35: 10

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chimes of Change

I awoke the other morning to the Westminster chimes ringing the hour. Tom's mom particularly wanted us to have this treasure of theirs. We have reset the clock & each quarter hour their song transports us to our childhoods... to memories of precious people & times we have known. The same chimes continue the cycle for London, who was brought to us too late to have met the grandparents who bestowed this treasure upon him.
I also awoke to this image, which signals the finality of the season. Winds or animal movement turned on the outside light & I sat mesmerized by the silhouette of foliage in my home. The annuals have been relocated from garden to container & now vie for light in my living room window. Some will make it, while others will not. I have 2 boxes crammed with begonias that have made it through this winter cycle 10 previous times.
As I settle into "the season of lines", reliving distant people & places, it is time to bring out our tree....I suppose I *am* ready for this season to celebrate the birth of our Saviour!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


My son saw him first. He looked out the side window & exclaimed, "There's a dog out there, mom!" Clad in a spiked collar, he was trampling the gardens, but on closer inspection, he appeared awfully thin...It even looked as though his collar was embedded. Cautiously, I went out & he came lumbering straight for me. Any fear melted away into laughter, as I saw his tongue lolling out in goofy glee. He was hand-shy, but sooo wanted to be loved ! Though bigger than Juliette, the enormity of his paws let us know his puppy age.... & he wasn't just wagging his tail, he was wagging fully half of his body. It didn't take him long to muster his courage & come to us. The way he bounds around joyfully, we started calling him Bounder. He instantly answered to it.

We fed him & Tom put out a blanket in the carport. When it went below freezing, London was allowed to bring him in "for the night"...that was over a week ago... We keep asking aloud, "Wherever did you come from?" & ""What are you doing HERE?".
Amazing sense of humor & abounding love, God is ever mindful of us & answers our prayers... even when what we need is simply a temporary distraction. We are under such a stressful time in our lives right now, but God saw fit to send us TONS of sloppy-puppy-kisses & laughter ...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Birthdays in SC

One tradition we enjoy is shooting off fireworks in honor of birthdays. Although my son has been ill, we had to take a few moments to honor his day with pyrotechnics. Though blurry, these hand-held shots are memorable for us. I love the full moon in the shots !

Below, is a father & son conspiracy. Apparently, on a boy's 9th birthday, "he gets to toss his first firecracker pack"....Under duress, I agreed... but I insisted this is ONLY on the actual birthday !!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

After the Rain

We drove out amidst overcast skies & light mist. Hours later, we returned in the tail end of a torrential downpour. Turning onto our street, I noticed the waterfall between the upper & lower ponds was running furiously. As soon as the rain subsided, I headed out to capture the above image. I then headed towards the larger waterfall, where the pond feeds into the lake.

The moment I passed through the forest gate, I could hear the rushing of the falls behind our home. It's surge was distinct, even over the roar of the dam. The absence of leaves makes it easier to get a shot of this, though it required some cliff climbing in the wet forest. Below is an image I think will put things in perspective & cast an idea of its size.

This is the back end of the cove. Out of view to the right are the docks & lake. It is directly behind our home, over a cliff. Except in times of drought, this waterfall can be heard throughout our home. What an amazing blessing God bestowed upon us when He blessed us with this place. So many extras we would never have dreamed to ask for....I am reminded of the scripture, "He knows our needs even before we ask."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Autumn's Last Breath

The last of the autumn color is typically the leather-reds of the oaks. I cherish them with mixed emotions. Days of rain & wind has now sent them cascading to the forest floor. Random patches of color can still be found, but for the most part, autumn's glory has waned to completion. Here in our forest retreat, the lake's surface can now be seen clearly across both the point & peninsula.

Tom & I spent the other night on our deck, watching as a cloud front moved in. We gazed at the moon through the silhouette of a now bare, eye-level oak. Moonlight has an amazing quality in gently overcast skies & we lost ourselves in the mood. It's all good.